New Yorkers are likely to see golf-cart sized cargo bikes hit the streets later this year under a plan unveiled by the Department of Transportation Monday.
The DOT plans to amend a local law that would make way for four-wheeled pedal-assisted cargo bikes that are up to four feet in width. Currently, cargo bikes can be no wider than three feet, with no more than three wheels.
The new bikes would be sturdier and more stable—and would reduce the number of trucks needed to make deliveries, the DOT says. The cargo bikes, which would look like tiny box trucks, would also be able to carry bigger loads and be easier to pedal than the current bikes. The bikes feature a small electric motor that only kicks in when users are pedaling.
“Safety and sustainability go hand in hand in New York City, and our administration is innovating every day and using every tool available to advance both,” said Mayor Eric Adams in a statement. “Greater use of cargo bikes will bring incredible environmental benefits for New York City by reducing the number of large, high-polluting trucks on our streets.”
The DOT says that two cargo bikes can replace one box truck, increasing safety and reducing CO2 emissions.
If the plan is approved, the use of commercial cargo bikes is expected to expand. The bikes were first introduced in New York City in 2019 via a pilot program. In 2022, according to the DOT, cargo bikes made more than 130,000 trips delivering about 5 million packages, resulting in the reduction of over 650,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
The plan already has the backing of several elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
“Cargo-bikes are an increasingly important mode of freight and package delivery in New York City, helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the street as well as lower emissions on our roadways,” Levine said. “Wider cargo bikes will allow them to be more widely used as well as safer to operate, and I applaud DOT for starting this rule making process.”
The announcement of the DOT plan marks the beginning of a 30-day window for public comment before a public hearing is held on the proposed rule. The hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.
The public is able to submit comments to NYC DOT through the NYC rules website at http://rules.cityofnewyork.us.